On December 20, 2010, FOX debuted their new primetime game show, Million Dollar Money Drop. If you haven’t seen it, the game basically works this way: a pair of contestants (usually a couple) are given $1 million as the show begins. They must then answer a series of seven multiple choice questions. They can distribute the money, in bundles of $20,000, on the answers but must leave one empty. They end up losing money only if they put it on a wrong answer. The last question has two answers and the contestants must put all of the remaining money on one answer or the other.
On the first episode, Gabe Okoye and Brittany Mayti got to the fifth question with $880,000. The “Inventions” question asked which product was sold in stores first: Post-It notes, the Sony Walkman, or Macintosh computers. The couple put $800,000 on the Post-it notes and $80,000 on the Walkman answer. The show said that the Walkman answer was correct (first sold in 1979) so they lost the $800,000. In the next two rounds, they lost the remaining $80,000.
It turns out that the answer to the inventions question wasn’t as cut and dry as network researchers were initially told. Post-Its were sold in test markets under a different name in 1977, as Post-Its in four cities in 1979 (possibly pre-dating the Walkman), and then nationwide as Post-Its in 1980.
Ultimately, the Post-It error didn’t change the outcome of the game. Had they moved onto the sixth round with $800,000 (instead of the $80,000), they still would have lost all their money because they chose the wrong answer in the last round.
Since there was an error in the game (and possibly because of bad press), the couple has been invited back for another try. The show’s executive producer, Jeff Apploff, said, “As a result of new information we have received from 3M, we feel it is only fair to give our contestants, Gabe and Brittany, another shot to play Million Dollar Money Drop even though this question was not the deciding question in their game.”
The contestants haven’t decided if they want to play the game again, saying that the experience was very stressful.
What do you think? Do you think the network should just give them money, even though the Post-It error wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the game? Should this error determine the show’s fate? Should it be cancelled because of it?
Image courtesy FOX.